Three Ruthin businessmen followed the cycle tracks of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish down the Champs-Elysees in triumph after raising over £10,000 for a children’s charity.
Their own personal Tour de France had seen them complete a gruelling 300 mile ride from London to Paris in aid of Action Medical Research which works on finding cures for children’s diseases.
Richard Jones, 47, Vice Chairman of Clifford Jones Timber, Keith Corbett, 64, the managing director, and Richard’s son, Joshua ‘Josh’ Sambrook-Jones, 20, the marketing manager, both from Bangor on Dee, made the trip along with three business colleagues.
North Wales and North West businesspeople Phil Wilbur, Terina Masterson and Ron Hughes joined the Clifford Jones Timber team for the four-day ride which ended in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe the day before Chris Froome’s triumphant entry into Paris in the Tour de France.
Josh said the ride proved unbelievably tough with the hills on the way from London to Dover particularly difficult.
He said: “It didn’t matter how much training we’d put in those hills were really hard and the first day in France proved quite hilly too. It certainly wasn’t an easy challenge by any means.
“Being the youngest in the team I couldn’t let the older guys show me up. My dad and Keith are particularly fit. But it was a fantastic experience doing a ride like that with my dad.
Richard added: “One day Josh and I lost about one-and-a-half hours after I shredded a tyre. We had inner tubes but no tyres. When we caught up at the lunch stop we had to make do with whatever scraps were left which was no fun.”
However, Josh says riding up the Champs-Elysees along with around 300 other charity cyclists while crowds cheered and clapped them to the finish line was one of the best experiences of his life.
He said: “It was amazing and just such a good feeling. We rode as a team of six and raised £10,087 which is amazing. Action Medical Research is a fantastic charity that doesn’t get enough credit for the work they do.
“Dad and Keith have cycled the London to Paris ride before but this was my first time. I’m definitely going to keep cycling and would certainly do the London to Paris again, although I might try for something even more difficult next time.”
He added: “The bikes we rode were all customised and hand-built by Keith too so they were made-to-measure really.
“We finished off with a good celebration in Paris. My mum, Louise, and my girlfriend, Hannah Astle, from Chester, were waiting for us at the finish and we had the weekend in Paris which was amazing.”
Keith Corbett, 64, only took up cycling six years ago after a replacement hip operation left him unable to continue playing five-a-side football.
He encouraged Josh and his dad, Richard, to take part and says the charity, Action Medical Research, is a wonderful cause which does fantastic work in the UK.
He said: “Medical research into childhood illnesses and diseases is really poorly funded in the UK so the charity is helping to fund research to find new cures and treatments to help protect children.
“Action Medical Research has been funding medical breakthroughs since the charity began in 1952 and was responsible for the first polio vaccines, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine. Those three things alone have helped save thousands of young lives.”
Richard added: “As Josh says everyone at Clifford Jones Timber is delighted to have raised so much money for the charity. It’s a tough challenge but a wonderful feeling when you cross the finish line.”